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Black Magic Soliloquy: Take a listen to Swedish music star Suzette Love’s newest song
July 2020: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Inkandescent Women magazine — I had the privilege of meeting Suzette Love when we took a graduate class in the fall of 2019 at Claremont Graduate University. Called “Good Work,” it was taught by world-renowned positive psychologist Dr. Jeanne Nakamura. Since we were two of the oldest students in the class (by far), we’d huddle together when it came time for break-out class discussions. I was always fascinated to hear Suzie’s perspective on topics ranging from “what is good work?” to her term paper’s presentation on the history and powerful impact of black educators in America.
Suzie is studying for her Ph.D. in educational studies. In addition to having been a classroom teacher for much of her career, she also spent more than a decade of her life as a professional singer, songwriter, and music producer in Sweden. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Southern California, Suzie admits her claim to fame is the years she spent as a rock star in Europe.
While the song she is sharing below was written during the ’92 uprisings, the lyrics make it just as relevant today considering the current civil rights movement in America. Please scroll down for the lyrics, and don’t miss her music video (above).
More about this Truly Amazing Woman
Suzette tells me she is a product of her past. “I began my career in music as many young African Americans, in the Local AME church where my grandparents Walter and Ruth were founding members,” she explains. “I continued singing on into high school where my sister Nicole and I sang and performed together in the show choir.”
In 1989, she became an exchange student at Sweden’s Uppsala University, where she learned Swedish while expanding her knowledge of Russian and East European politics. She also met three Swedish DJs — Erik Hagstrom, Erik Anderson, and Ulf Lindstrom — who invited her to create what they called “high tech jam.” They called the group Vibe and quickly gained recognition in Sweden’s underground Hip Hop scene.
“Swedish music mogul Peter Svartling caught wind of our work and signed us on,” explains Suzette of the adamant fan of soul music, who founded the Stockholm-based music label Soul Food in the 90s. Vibe became one of his premier group. The combination of my soul-influenced vocals and songwriting skills mixed with the three guys’ infusion of technology and live music in the studio helped us become known as one of the most forward-thinking bands on the European music scene at the time. For that reason, I think that many would agree our music is relevant today.”
The group toured around Sweden, and their songs were released in dozens of European cities and were released in Japan. Suzette’s popularity expanded, and she performed with major Swedish acts like Titiyo and Jennifer Brown. Also, she and Vibe performed at the Stockholm Jazz Festival, where she even participated in a jam session with Jamiraquai’s band. Vibe’s early #1 hit singles included Feel Free, Love Love Love, and Come Back. The group released two CDs: Day Like ‘Dis on the Soul Food label and Sanctified on the BMG/Sweden label.
While music is her passion, Suzette’s love of education continues to fuel her quest for knowledge.
While keeping up her musical chops by performing with local California bands like the Xcelerators, she has gained momentum as an educator and a scholar. Love has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s in Public Administration and Policy Analysis, and a Master’s in Education. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Education and Claremont University.
In 1989, she attended the Nobel prize ceremonies. She was one of just a first to see Nelson and Winnie Mandela at the Uppsala Cathedral on one of their first trips outside of South Africa after his release from Robben Island. Suzette pursued courses in African Studies at California State University Fullerton with Dr. Wacira Gethaiga, founder of the Ethnic Studies Department at CSUF, who became one of her most influential mentors. She learned a great deal about the connections between Africans and African Americans and the importance of improving and maintaining relations among those of the African Diaspora.”
Suzette became a preschool teacher after high school, and today is a credentialed teacher who has worked with many non-profit children’s organizations in Southern California. She has also been a public school teacher in Nevada, taught special needs students at the community college level, and was an assistant teacher in the Political Science departments at Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly Pomona. Her mantra: Each one teaches one.
“Achieving a balance between my creative passions and my quest for knowledge is a constant struggle,” admits Suzette. “However, it is a struggle that I have learned to embrace. I believe that I can use my superpowers of scholarship and creativity for good.”
As a teacher, she believes that it is vital for the African American community to educate its children and prepare them to become effective leaders in the future. Her music is a means of relaying her passion and love for the people around her. “I am constantly being encouraged, especially by my mother, who always reminds me, ‘nothing beats a failure but a try,’ and that is how I approach my life.”
Be on the lookout for more music by Suzette as she works toward her Doctorate in Education, and scroll down to see the lyrics of her powerful song.
Black Magic Soliloquy
By Suzette Love/Vibe/BMG Music Sweden 1992
Peace comes only from desperation,
The desperation of tears, endless death, and oppression.
It is the women who fight the hardest for peace.
We are the ones who tire of black burial clothes.
We grow weary of blue gunshot wounded bodies
and the kiss
of cold frozen lips.
In Los Angeles, there are lost angels of every class,
creed and color.
The gun and the needle make no discretion between black nor white
and neither brown nor yellow.
This is a world in which to be safe means to survive.
Though I am tired, I must go on. Though I am weary,
I must go on. My arms my legs, my back screams out for rest. . .
I must go on.
Ten days in the wilderness,
Fifteen days in the wilderness,
Thirty days in the wilderness.
Forty Years in the wilderness.
Yet I must go on.
The Americas have cast me out
into the coldness of the seas, into the bitter salts as if,
they know not from whence I came.
And mother Africa casts her eye upon me as if I were a prodigal child.
She knew my fathers but she
knoweth not me.
To whom do I cry
and where do my tears fall?
I am free to sing, free to cry, free to dance, and even free to die,
and though the salt is bitter and the waters deep,
it is the place
where I shall sleep.
Where I am free to sing, free to cry, free to dance and even free to die. . .
The universe keeps right on past 2000 never end,
and we’ll keep building sandcastles, in fairytales we have no sins,
when the sleeping giants wake one day and change their attitude,
what will we do?
Black beauty, black like coffee, black power, black joy, black blues,
black rhythm, black girl black boy
Black hands in the sand the foundations of the earth.
Black drums beat the joy and the pain of new birth.
Shaka, Askia, Mandingo, Nzinga,
Black power flowed from the tips of their fingers
Baraka my king, Giovanni my queen,
and I find my joy in the blackness of being.
Marley understood the suffering so well.
He could even make white folk understand the suffering.
Dred became something to be proud of.
Black coarse, nappy, soft dred.
Dred, a symbol of the survival of the black man on earth
During the age of slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism,
in the first, second, and third world.
There is a fourth world to come
when the devils of this age,
those who bought our freedom
and even those who sold it
will reap the harvest of their lot.
In the fourth world to come
Marley’s voice will be the one herald angel
heard in its streets and cities saying
Wake up and live now.
Wake up and live!
Suzette Love ©Vibe/ BMG Publishing 1992